International journal of molecular sciences

Three-dimensional cell culture: a breakthrough in vivo.

PMID 25768338


Cell culture is an important tool for biological research. Two-dimensional cell culture has been used for some time now, but growing cells in flat layers on plastic surfaces does not accurately model the in vivo state. As compared to the two-dimensional case, the three-dimensional (3D) cell culture allows biological cells to grow or interact with their surroundings in all three dimensions thanks to an artificial environment. Cells grown in a 3D model have proven to be more physiologically relevant and showed improvements in several studies of biological mechanisms like: cell number monitoring, viability, morphology, proliferation, differentiation, response to stimuli, migration and invasion of tumor cells into surrounding tissues, angiogenesis stimulation and immune system evasion, drug metabolism, gene expression and protein synthesis, general cell function and in vivo relevance. 3D culture models succeed thanks to technological advances, including materials science, cell biology and bioreactor design.